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Flavius Eutropius “Summary of Roman History”, Book 9

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“Liber Primus/Book I” | “Liber Secondus/Book II” | “Liber Tertius/Book III” | “Liber Quartus/Book IV” | “Liber Quintus/Book V” | “Liber Sextus/Book VI” | “Liber Septimus/Book VII” | “Liber Octavus/Book VIII” | “Liber Nonus/Book IX” | “Liber Decimus/Book X”.

Flavius Eutropius

”Summary of Roman History”, Book 9
To Emperor Valens, Gothicus, Maximus, Perpetual Augustus, from the Imperial Secretary Flavius Eutropius

English translation by Lamberto Bozzi (2019)

Flavius Eutropius


Chapter 1

After him, the first Emperor to rise from the ranks,
Called Maximinus, was only nominated thanks
To the will of the military, without recourse to
The authority of the Senate - of whose assembly
He was no part -. Against the Germans he successfully
Made war and was acclaimed Emperor by his forces.
But eventually, deserted by his soldiery,
He was killed by Pupienus near the Aquileian marshes
With his young son. Together the two
Had reigned three years, and a few days too.

Post hunc Maximinus ex corpore militari primus ad imperium accessit sola militum voluntate, cum nulla senatus intercessisset auctoritas neque ipse senator esset. Is bello adversus Germanos feliciter gesto cum a militibus imperator esset appellatus, a Pupieno Aquileiae occisus est deserentibus eum militibus suis cum filio adhuc puero, cum quo imperaverat triennio et paucis diebus.

Chapter 2

Later there were three men who assumed the name Augustus
At the same time: Pupienus, Balbinus, and Gordianus.
The first two of obscure lineage. Gordianus’ origin
Was aristocratic, his father had been appointed
Emperor by the soldiers’ will during Maximinus’
Incumbency while he was acting as Proconsul in
Africa. Once in Rome Balbinus and Pupienus were dispatched
In the Palace; the Empire was then reserved to Gordianus
Who, when still very young, got married to
Tranquillina in Rome, and opened the temple of Janus
Bifrons. Having left for
The East, he went to war
To prevent the Parthians’ deeds of derring-do
Against the border, and inflicted damages
On the Persians in great engagements. On his
Way back, not far from the Roman boundary,
He was liquidated by the treachery,
Of Philip, who ruled after him. Meanwhile
His soldiers built his tomb on the twentieth mile
From Circessus, now a Roman fortress on
The Euphrates. For the funeral procession,
They brought him back to Rome in godlike style.

Postea tres simul Augusti fuerunt, Pupienus, Balbinus, Gordianus, duo superiores obscurissimo genere, Gordianus nobilis, quippe cuius pater, senior Gordianus, consensu militum, cum proconsulatum Africae gereret, Maximino imperante princeps fuisset electus. Itaque cum Romam venissent, Balbinus et Pupienus in Palatio interfecti sunt, soli Gordiano imperium reservatum. Gordianus admodum puer cum Tranquillinam Romae duxisset uxorem, Ianum Geminum aperuit et ad Orientem profectus Parthis bellum intulit, qui iam moliebantur erumpere. Quod quidem feliciter gessit proeliisque ingentibus Persas adflixit. Rediens haud longe a Romanis finibus interfectus est fraude Philippi, qui post eum imperavit. Miles ei tumulum vicesimo miliario a Circesio, quod castrum nunc Romanorum est Euphratae inminens, aedificavit, exequias Romam revexit, ipsum Divum appellavit.

Chapter 3

The two Philips, father and son, having slain
Gordianus, appropriated the Empire’s reign,
And, having safely brought back the army
From Syria, marched towards Italy.
The City of Rome Millennium Celebration,
With shows and games of real grandiosity,
Was organized during their administration.
They were both killed by the army: the Elder
Philip in Verona, in Rome the Younger.
They were carried to the Gods almighty
After five years of Imperial sovereignty.

Philippi duo, filius ac pater, Gordiano occiso imperium invaserunt atque exercitu incolumi reducto ad Italiam ex Syria profecti sunt. His imperantibus millesimus annus Romae urbis ingenti ludorum apparatu spectaculorumque celebratus est. Ambo deinde ab exercitu interfecti sunt, senior Philippus Veronae, Romae iunior. Annis quinque imperaverunt; inter Divos tamen relati sunt.

Chapter 4

After them, power was assumed by
Decius, from Budalia, in Lower Saxony.
The civil war that was raging in Gaul he
Quelled. His own son he would dignify
With the title of Caesar, then managed to build
A Bath in Rome. Both he and his son were killed,
After a biennial reign, in a barbarous region.
Among the Gods the Elder had his consecration.

Post hos Decius e Pannonia inferiore Budaliae natus imperium sumpsit. Bellum civile, quod in Gallia motum, fuerat oppressit. Filium suum Caesarem fecit. Romae lavacrum aedificavit. Cum imperassent biennio ipse et filius, uterque in Barbarico interfecti sunt. Senior meruit inter Divos referri.

Chapter 5

Presently Gallus Hostilianus
And Gallus’ own son Volusianus
Were made Emperors. In the course of their reign,
Aemilianus concocted a great riot
In Moesia. Having left to stamp it out,
At Interamna both Emperors were slain,
After a two-year long reigning bout
In which nothing at all was noteworthy
But the plague, illness and calamity.

Mox imperatores creati sunt Gallus Hostilianus et Galli filius Volusianus. Sub his Aemilianus in Moesia res novas molitus est; ad quem opprimendum cum ambo profecti essent, Interamnae interfecti sunt non conpleto biennio. Nihil omnino clarum gesserunt. Sola pestilentia et morbis atque aegritudinibus notus eorum principatus fuit.

Chapter 6

Baseborn Aemilianus’ own rule went unnoticed indeed,
After about three months of reign he was killed and buried.

Aemilianus obscurissime natus obscurius imperavit ac tertio mense extinctus est.

Chapter 7

Then Captain Licinius Valerianus
In charge of Rhaetia and the Noricum was made
Emperor, and presently Augustus,
By the army; and in Rome Gallienus
Also was as Caesar by the Senate hoorayed.
Their incumbency was most pernicious
And harmful to the Roman Empire’s authority
Both for their adverse fortune and inadequacy.
As far as Ravenna the Germans bounced.
In Mesopotamia Valerianus waging war
Against Sapor, the Persian king, was trounced
And restricted by the Parthians after being subdued.
He grew old among them in disgraceful servitude.

Hinc Licinius Valerianus in Raetia et Norico agens ab exercitu imperator et mox Augustus est factus. Gallienus quoque Romae a senatu Caesar est appellatus. Horum imperium Romano nomini perniciosum et paene exitiabile fuit vel infelicitate principum vel ignavia. Germani Ravennam usque venerunt. Valerianus in Mesopotamia bellum gerens a Sapore, Persarum rege, superatus est, mox etiam captus apud Parthos ignobili servitute consenuit.

Chapter 8

Gallienus, having been made Augustus when
An adolescent, initially managed with success
The Roman Empire’s administration, then
Adequately, but finally made a terrible mess
Of it. For he accomplished many strenuous
Youthful deeds in Gaul and in Illyria. Thus
He slaughtered, near Mursa, Ingenuus
Who had usurped the State, and Trebellianus,
Too. For long reasonable and pacific,
Then, on all kinds of licentiousness intent,
He let go of the reins of the Republic
With shameful cowardice and discouragement.
The Alemanni, after destroying Gaul, broke into
Italy. Across the Danube Dacia, which Trajan
Had annexed, was lost. The Goths laid waste
To Greece, Macedonia, the Pontus and Asia too.
Pannonia was ransacked by Sarmatian and Quadian
Forces. To be sure the Germans raced
As far as the regions of Spain and also
Captured the noble City of Tarraco.
The Parthians, having occupied Mesopotamia,
Started to assert their ownership rights to Syria.

Gallienus, cum adulescens factus esset Augustus, imperium primum feliciter, mox commode, ad ultimum perniciose gessit. Nam iuvenis in Gallia et Illyrico multa strenue fecit occiso apud Mursam Ingenuo, qui purpuram sumpserat, et Trebelliano. Diu placidus et quietus, mox in omnem lasciviam dissolutus, tenendae rei publicae habenas probrosa ignavia et desperatione laxavit. Alamanni vastatis Galliis in Italiam penetraverunt. Dacia, quae a Traiano ultra Danubium fuerat adiecta, tum amissa, Graecia, Macedonia, Pontus, Asia vastata est per Gothos, Pannonia a Sarmatis Quadisque populata est, Germani usque ad Hispanias penetraverunt et civitatem nobilem Tarraconem expugnaverunt, Parthi Mesopotamia occupata Syriam sibi coeperant vindicare.

Chapter 9

And when, all hope having been lost, about to fall
Was the Roman Empire, there came from Gaul
Postumus, a man of obscure origins, who
Usurped power and reigned for ten years in such a way
To restore with bravery and moderation too
The Provinces bordering on total disarray.
He was killed in a sedition of the military
Because he hadn’t permitted the soldiery
To plunder the City of Moguntiacum that indeed
Had risen up against him, following Lelianus’ lead.
After him, Marius a cheap artisan, snatched
The Purple, but two days later was dispatched.
Then Victorinus took the supreme
Power in Gaul, a man extremely brave,
But also a libertine ready to crave
Everybody else’s matrimonial team.
In Agrippina, after a two years’ reign, death caught
Him as a result of an administrator’s plot.

Iam desperatis rebus et deleto paene imperio Romano Postumus in Gallia, obscurissime natus, purpuram sumpsit et per annos decem ita imperavit, ut consumptas paene provincias ingenti virtute et moderatione reparaverit. Qui seditione militum interfectus est, quod Mogontiacum civitatem, quae adversus eum rebellaverat Laeliano res novas moliente, diripiendam militibus tradere noluisset. Post eum Marius, vilissimus opifex, purpuram accepit et secundo die interfectus est. Victorinus postea Galliarum accepit imperium, vir strenuissimus, sed cum nimiae libidinis esset et matrimonia aliena corrumperet, Agrippinae occisus est actuario quodam dolum machinante, imperii sui anno secundo.

Chapter 10

To him succeeded Senator Tetricus who
Administering Aquitania in the capacity
Of Prefect was, in his absence, elevated to
The status of Emperor. It was near the City
Of Burdigala that he took the purple. Many
Were the seditions he had to go through.
When all this was taking place in Gaul, Odhenatus
Crushed the Persians in the East, defended Syria
And then managed to regain Mesopotamia. Thus
He could force his way to Ctesiphon too.

Huic successit Tetricus senator, qui Aquitaniam honore praesidis administrans absens a militibus imperator electus est et apud Burdigalam purpuram sumpsit. Seditiones multas militum pertulit. Sed dum haec in Gallia geruntur, in Oriente per Odenathum Persae victi sunt. Defensa Syria, recepta Mesopotamia usque ad Ctesiphontem Odenathus penetravit.

Chapter 11

So while Gallienus was neglecting the State,
The Roman Empire was preserved by Posthumus
In the West, and in the East by Odenathus.
In the meantime in Milan death was the fate
That befell Gallienus, and his brother Valerianus,
In the ninth year of reign; and so his successor was Claudius,
Elected by the soldiers, and by the Senate named Augustus.
He routed the Goths, who were laying waste to
Illyricum and Macedonia, in a tremendous
Battle. He was personally modest, parsimonious,
And with a sense of moderation too
Which was for the Republic a fine reigning tool.
Yet he died of illness after two years of rule.
In the Capitol the Senate honoured him with a statue
Made of gold, and hung a gold shield in the Curia wall too.

Ita Gallieno rem publicam deserente Romanum imperium in Occidente per Postumum, per Odenathum in Oriente servatum est. Gallienus interea Mediolani cum Valeriano fratre occisus est imperii anno nono Claudiusque ei successit a militibus electus, a senatu appellatus Augustus. Hic Gothos Illyricum Macedoniamque vastantes ingenti proelio vicit. Parcus vir ac modestus et iusti tenax ac rei publicae gerendae idoneus, qui tamen intra imperii biennium morbo interiit. Divus appellatus est. Senatus eum ingenti honore decoravit, scilicet ut in curia clipeus ipsi aureus, item in Capitolio statua aurea poneretur.

Chapter 12

After him came Quintillus, the brother of Claudius
Elected by the army’s will; a man of sane
Balance like his brother but with a finer brain.
By decree of the Senate he was named Augustus,
And was killed on the seventeenth day of his reign.

Quintillus post eum, Claudii frater, consensu militum imperator electus est, unicae moderationis vir et civilitatis, aequandus fratri vel praeponendus. Consensu senatus appellatus Augustus septimo decimo imperii die occisus est.

Chapter 13

After him Aurelianus seized the Empire. He
Was from the Dacian river banks, a man
Valiant in war, wild and with a propensity
For cruelty. He bravely vanquished the Goths, too,
And brought Rome’s power back within the span
Of its former borders with wars lucky and various.
Near Catalauni, in Gaul, he vanquished Tetricus.
Tetricus himself betrayed his army whose continuous
Seditions he couldn’t bear. With secret notes, indeed,
Aurelianus was implored to put into
Practice the Vergilian quotation and concede
“as an invincible man, to see me through
These woes”. Not far away from the City of Antiochia,
Without a significant engagement,
He also captured Odenathus’ widow Zenobia,
Who in those days occupied the Orient.
He also celebrated a renowned triumph, for
He acted as Western and Eastern Emperor.
Tetricus ushered the chariot’s pageant
With Zenobia; The same Tetricus who
Was the Commissioner of Lucania,
And had a very long private life too.
Among Rome’s residents there are a few
Of those who still descend from Zenobia.

Post eum Aurelianus suscepit imperium, Dacia Ripensi oriundus, vir in bello potens, animi tamen inmodici et ad crudelitatem propensioris. Is quoque Gothos strenuissime vicit. Romanam dicionem ad fines pristinos varia bellorum felicitate revocavit. Superavit in Gallia Tetricum apud Catalaunos ipso Tetrico prodente exercitum suum, cuius adsiduas seditiones ferre non poterat. Quin etiam per litteras occultas Aurelianum ita fuerat deprecatus, ut inter alia versu Vergiliano uteretur: "Eripe me his, invicte, malis". Zenobiam quoque, quae occiso Odenatho marito Orientem tenebat, haud longe ab Antiochia sine gravi proelio cepit, ingressusque Romam nobilem triumphum quasi receptor Orientis Occidentisque egit praecedentibus currum Tetrico et Zenobia. Qui quidem Tetricus corrector Lucaniae postea fuit ac privatus diutissime vixit; Zenobia autem posteros, qui adhuc manent, Romae reliquit.

Chapter 14

There even was a minters’ uprising
During his reign: after counterfeiting
The money they managed to kill Felicissimus,
The treasurer. After crushing them, Aurelianus
Punished them severely and had very many
People of quality condemned to death. Bloodthirsty
And savage was the emperor, more tightly bound to
Some than worthy of the love of others; fiery,
Always and murderer of his own sister’s son, too,
But he restored in a large part Army
Discipline and public morality.

Hoc imperante etiam in urbe monetarii rebellaverunt vitiatis pecuniis et Felicissimo rationali interfecto. Quos Aurelianus victos ultima crudelitate conpescuit. Plurimos nobiles capite damnavit. Saevus et sanguinarius ac necessarius magis in quibusdam quam in ullo amabilis imperator. Trux omni tempore, etiam filii sororis interfector, disciplinae tamen militaris et morum dissolutorum magna ex parte corrector.

Chapter 15

With stronger walls he surrounded the City
Of Rome. He built a temple to the Sun
Placing in it an infinite quantity
Of gold and gems. He kept none
Of the Dacian Province Emperor Trajan had founded
Across the Danube since, Illyria and Moesia
Having been ravaged, he despaired it could then be counted
As part of the Empire. From the fields and towns of Dacia
He transferred Roman settlers to the middle of Moesia
Which he called Dacia and which divides the two
Moesias and lies on the Danube right bank, next to
Its mouth, while it had been on the left bank before then.
He was killed when a slave framed him by sending
A forged letter of his to some military men,
Proving that Aurelianus was indeed going
To slay them. To prevent the worst,
It was they themselves who struck first
In Caenophrurium, as that place on the old road
Is commonly called, halfway between the cities
Of Costantinople and Heraclea. There followed
Suitable vengeance due to his wanton death though.
He gained a seat among the Godly Entities.

Urbem Romam muris firmioribus cinxit. Templum Soli aedificavit, in quo infinitum auri gemmarumque constituit. Provinciam Daciam, quam Traianus ultra Danubium fecerat, intermisit, vastato omni Illyrico et Moesia, desperans eam posse retinere, abductosque Romanos ex urbibus et agris Daciae in media Moesia collocavit appellavitque eam Daciam, quae nunc duas Moesias dividit et est in dextra Danubio in mare fluenti, cum antea fuerit in laeva. Occiditur servi sui fraude, qui ad quosdam militares viros, amicos ipsius, nomina pertulit adnotata, falso manum eius imitatus, tamquam Aurelianus ipsos pararet occidere; itaque ut praeveniretur, ab isdem interfectus est in itineris medio, quod inter Constantinopolim et Heracleam est stratae veteris; locus Caenophrurium appellatur. Mors tamen eius inulta non fuit. Meruit quoque inter Divos referri.

Chapter 16

After him Tacitus took power, an eminent
Man of morals, a statesman true and urbane.
Nevertheless he could no great achievement
Show, as he died in the sixth month of his reign.
His successor Florianus’ Imperial phase,
Which lasted only two months and twenty days,
Left no trace at all in memory’s domain.

Tacitus post hunc suscepit imperium, vir egregie moratus et rei publicae gerendae idoneus. Nihil tamen clarum potuit ostendere intra sextum mensem imperii morte praeventus. Florianus, qui Tacito successerat, duobus mensibus et diebus XX in imperio fuit neque quicquam dignum memoria egit.

Chapter 17

After him Probus, illustrious for military
Glory, came to power and administered the State.
With successful battles he managed to liberate
From the Barbarians the Gallic territory.
He overwhelmed in battle some who
Tried to usurp the Empire: Saturninus
In the East, that is, Proculus, Bonosus
And Agrippina. He allowed the Gauls and
The Pannonians to plant vineyards. Later on
He let his own soldiers plant vines in the land
Of Mount Alma and Aureus, in the region
Of Upper Moesia. The provincials were to till
The vineyards with their own agricultural skill.
After waging innumerable wars, he
Secured peace, saying that at last
There would no need of the military.
He was strong, active, just
And on Emperor Aurelianus’ par
For military glory, but far
Above him in morals. His killing
Took place at Sirmium, in a towering
Structure during an army uprising.

Post hunc Probus, vir inlustris gloria militari, ad administrationem rei publicae accessit. Gallias a barbaris occupatas ingenti proeliorum felicitate restituit. Quosdam imperium usurpare conatos, scilicet Saturninum in Oriente, Proculum et Bonosum Agrippinae, certaminibus oppressit. Vineas Gallos et Pannonios habere permisit, opere militari Almam montem apud Sirmium et Aureum apud Moesiam superiorem vineis conseruit et provincialibus colendos dedit. Hic cum bella innumera gessisset, pace parata dixit brevi milites necessarios non futuros. Vir acer, strenuus, iustus et qui Aurelianum aequaret gloria militari, morum autem civilitate superaret. Interfectus tamen est Sirmii tumultu militari in turri ferrata.

Chapter 18

After him a man by the name of Carus,
Born at Narbo in Gaul, was named Augustus.
He soon appointed Caesars his two
Sons Carinus and Numerianus, but while
Waging war against the Sarmatian host
He was told the Persians had risen up too.
He went east and did deeds of high profile
Against the Persians. He took the most
Noble towns of Seleucia and Ctesiphon.
He died struck by lightning at his post
Above the Tigris in his army position.
As Caesars in the Persian campaign
He had taken along with him his worthy and excellent
Son Numerianus who, when suffering from an eye ailment
In his litter, was treacherously slain
At the instigation of his father-in-law.
The corpse gave away a tell-tale smell, although
Aper had tried to cover things up to wrench
Power, but the escort, overcome with the stench,
Pulled the litter curtains a few days later and
Realized he’d been dealt a deadly hand.

Post hunc Carus est factus Augustus, Narbone natus in Gallia. Is confestim Carinum et Numerianum filios Caesares fecit. Sed dum bellum adversus Sarmatas gerit, nuntiato Persarum tumultu ad Orientem profectus res contra Persas nobiles gessit. Ipsos proelio fudit, Cochen et Ctesiphontem, urbes nobilissimas, cepit. Et cum castra super Tigridem haberet, vi divini fulminis periit. Numerianus quoque, filius eius, quem secum Caesarem ad Persas duxerat, adulescens egregiae indolis, cum oculorum dolore correptus in lecticula veheretur, inpulsore Apro, qui socer eius erat, per insidias occisus est. Et cum dolo occultaretur ipsius mors, quousque Aper invadere posset imperium, foetore cadaveris prodita est. Milites enim, qui eum sequebantur, putore commoti deductis lecticulae palliis post aliquot dies mortem eius notam habere potuerunt.

Chapter 19

On leaving for Persia, Carinus
Named as his Caesar Carus
Who in Illyria, Italy and Gaul spent his time
Committing every single wicked act and crime.
He framed and liquidated a slew
Of innocents, and his classmates, too,
Who just slighted him in the lecture hall,
And also seduced the wives of men of quality.
For that he soon had to pay a penalty,
Seeing that he was by now hated by all.
Then upon the return of the victorious army
From Persia – after the loss of Carus Augustus,
Struck by lightning and Caesar Numerarius,
Treacherously killed – Diocletian was made
Emperor. He was a Dalmatian of tenebrous
Birth: as the son of a scribe by some portrayed,
Or as a freedman of Senator Anulinus.

Interea Carinus, quem Caesarem ad Parthos proficiscens Carus in Illyrico, Gallia, Italia reliquerat, omnibus se sceleribus inquinavit. Plurimos innoxios fictis criminibus occidit, matrimonia nobilia corrupit, condiscipulis quoque, qui eum in auditorio vel levi fatigatione taxaverant, perniciosus fuit. Ob quae omnibus hominibus invisus non multo post poenas dedit. Nam de Perside victor exercitus rediens, cum Carum Augustum fulmine, Numerianum Caesarem insidiis perdidisset, Diocletianum imperatorem creavit, Dalmatia oriundum, virum obscurissime natum, adeo ut a plerisque scribae filius, a nonnullis Anullini senatoris libertinus fuisse credatur.

Chapter 20

During his first speech to the soldiers he
Swore he played no part at all in the killing
Of Numerarius and simultaneously
Put to the sword Aper, guilty of treachery,
In the presence of the whole mustered army.
In a great battle near Margus
He then overwhelmed Carinus –
Hated and detested by everybody –
And also betrayed by his larger army
Or ditched between Viminacius,
As it were, and Mount Aureus.
Having thus seized the Roman Empire, as
A group of Gallic peasants who
Called themselves Bacaudurus, en masse
Rose up under captains Amandus and Aelianus,
He sent Caesar Maximianus Herculius to
Subdue those countrymen in light engagements and
Re-establish peace in all the Gallic land.

Is prima militum contione iuravit Numerianum nullo suo dolo interfectum, et cum iuxta eum Aper, qui Numeriano insidias fecerat, constitisset, in conspectu exercitus manu Diocletiani percussus est. Postea Carinum omnium odio et detestatione viventem apud Margum ingenti proelio vicit, proditum ab exercitu suo, quem fortiorem habebat, aut certe desertum, inter Viminacium atque Aureum montem. Ita rerum Romanarum potitus cum tumultum rusticani in Gallia concitassent et factioni suae Bacaudarum nomen inponerent, duces autem haberent Amandum et Aelianum, ad subigendos eos Maximianum Herculium Caesarem misit, qui levibus proeliis agrestes domuit et pacem Galliae reformavit.

Chapter 21

In those days also Carausius who,
Although of very humble birth, had gained great
Fame was ordered, near the City of Bononia,
To pacify the sea of Belgica, and Armorica, too,
Infested by the Frankish and Saxon cognate
Tribes. Many of the barbarians were captured but
As the Provincials’ or the Emperors’ cut
Wasn’t returned in full the suspicion arose he
Let the barbarians come in deliberately
To capture them while they were carrying the booty
And fill his pockets. When Maximian tried
To incite him to commit suicide,
He usurped power and occupied Britanny.

Per haec tempora etiam Carausius qui vilissime natus strenuae militiae ordine famam egregiam fuerat consecutus, cum apud Bononiam per tractum Belgicae et Armorici pacandum mare accepisset, quod Franci et Saxones infestabant. Multis barbaris saepe captis nec praeda integra aut provincialibus reddita aut imperatoribus missa cum suspicio esse coepisset consulto ab eo admitti barbaros, ut transeuntes cum praeda exciperet atque hac se occasione ditaret, a Maximiano iussus occidi purpuram sumpsit et Britannias occupavit.

Chapter 22

Thus and so, when all over the world things were in great
Disorder, Carausius being up in arms in Britanny,
And Achilleus in Egypt, while the Quinquegentiani
Infested Africa and Narseus let war deflagrate
In the East, Diocletian later promoted Maximianus
Herculius from Caesar to Augustus, and named Costantius
With Maximianus Caesars, the former said to be
Claudius’ nephew by his daughter, the latter
Born in Dacia, near Serdica very likely.
To bind them with family ties Constantius
Married Theodora, Heraclius step-daughter,
From whom he had six children altogether:
They were the brothers of Constantinus;
Galerius married Diocletian’s daughter
Valeria. Both were forced to drop their spouses.
The chance of war was tried in vain
On Carausius master of the military art.
So once and for all he would fain
Compromise for peace. And another murderous part
Played Allectus, his colleague, who after seven
Years killed him. He himself kept for three
Years the provinces of Brittany.
He was overcome by Asclepiodotus, then
The Praetorian Prefect. So after three years all
Brittany was again in the Empire’s thrall.

Ita cum per omnem orbem terrarum res turbatae essent, Carausius in Britanniis rebellaret, Achilleus in Aegypto, Africam Quinquegentiani infestarent, Narseus Orienti bellum inferret, Diocletianus Maximianum Herculium ex Caesare fecit Augustum, Constantium et Maximianum Caesares, quorum Constantius per filiam nepos Claudii traditur, Maximianus Galerius in Dacia haud longe a Serdica natus. Atque ut eos etiam adfinitate coniungeret, Constantius privignam Herculii Theodoram accepit, ex qua postea sex liberos, Constantini fratres, habuit, Galerius filiam Diocletiani Valeriam, ambo uxores, quas habuerant, repudiare conpulsi. Cum Carausio tamen, cum bella frustra temptata essent contra virum rei militaris peritissimum, ad postremum pax convenit. Eum post septennium Allectus, socius eius, occidit atque ipse post eum Britannias triennio tenuit. Qui ductu Asclepiodoti, praefecti praetorio, oppressus est. Ita Britanniae decimo anno receptae.

Chapter 23

At the same time Constantius, Caesar in Gaul, fought
Well. Near Lingonae, on the same day,
He experienced the bad and the favourable lot.
For a Barbarians’ sudden foray
Compelled him to precipitously
Make for the city, whose gates were already
Closed, and be hauled up the walls with ropes. Thanks to
The arrival of the army, some sixty
Thousand Alemanni were killed. Maximianus too -
Who was Augustus – ended the war in Africa,
Taming the Quinquegentiani and forcing them to
Sign the peace. Achilleus, besieged in Alexandria,
Was beaten and killed by Diocletian in eight
Months. He exploited his victory with great
Cruelty and also managed to throw into disarray
The whole of Egypt with massacres and proscriptions.
But many of the prudent and clever dispositions
He adopted on that occasion are still valid today.

Per idem tempus a Constantio Caesare in Gallia bene pugnatum est. Circa Lingonas die una adversam et secundam fortunam expertus est. Nam cum repente barbaris ingruentibus intra civitatem esset coactus tam praecipiti necessitate, ut clausis portis in murum funibus tolleretur, vix quinque horis mediis adventante exercitu sexaginta fere milia Alamannorum cecidit. Maximianus quoque Augustus bellum in Africa profligavit domitis Quinquegentianis et ad pacem redactis. Diocletianus obsessum Alexandriae Achilleum octavo fere mense superavit eumque interfecit. Victoria acerbe usus est; totam Aegyptum gravibus proscriptionibus caedibusque foedavit. Ea tamen occasione ordinavit provide multa et disposuit, quae ad nostram aetatem manent.

Chapter 24

Galerius Maximinus first got a pasting
In an engagement against Narseus between
The cities of Callinicus and Carrae, having
Attacked carelessly rather than weakly
With scarce forces a countless, unforeseen
Enemy army. So having lost he
Went to Diocletian whom he met on the way,
And was received so superciliously
That people according to tradition say
In purple garments he had to hastily strut
Thousands of paces behind the Sovereign’s chariot.

Galerius Maximianus primum adversus Narseum proelium insecundum habuit inter Callinicum Carrasque congressus, cum inconsulte magis quam ignave dimicasset; admodum enim parva manu cum copiosissimo hoste commisit. Pulsus igitur et ad Diocletianum profectus cum ei in itinere occurrisset, tanta insolentia a Diocletiano fertur exceptus, ut per aliquot passuum milia purpuratus tradatur ad vehiculum cucurrisse.

Chapter 25

Yet with men from Moesia
And Illyricum he successfully, and not
Less judiciously and strongly, one more time fought
In Upper Armenia
With Narseus, Hormisdas’ and Sapor’s
Forefather. With two or three horsemen
He had ridden as scout. Narseus
Having been beaten, he pulled down his
Camp, captured his wives, his children
And his sisters. Besides he captured a slew
Of Persian noblemen and Persian treasures too.
He pushed to the outer province
Of his Kingdom King Narseus. Hence
On his triumphal return to Diocletian, who
Was then in Mesopotamia with his legions,
He was welcomed with full honours. And
From that time on, in various military actions
They were involved, alone or hand in hand,
Subduing the Carpi and the Basternians,
And also vanquishing the Sarmatians.
Large numbers of prisoners were forced to retire
From their own nations to the Roman Empire.

Mox tamen per Illyricum Moesiamque contractis copiis rursus cum Narseo, Hormisdae et Saporis avo, in Armenia maiore pugnavit successu ingenti nec minore consilio, simul fortitudine, quippe qui etiam speculatoris munus cum altero aut tertio equite susceperit. Pulso Narseo castra eius diripuit; uxores, sorores, liberos cepit, infinitam extrinsecus Persarum nobilitatem, gazam Persicam copiosissimam. Ipsum in ultimas regni solitudines egit. Quare a Diocletiano in Mesopotamia cum praesidiis tum morante ovans regressus ingenti honore susceptus est. Varia deinceps et simul et viritim bella gesserunt Carpis et Basternis subactis, Sarmatis victis, quarum nationum ingentes captivorum copias in Romanis finibus locaverunt.

Chapter 26

Diocletian had a proclivity
For guile and also subtleness.
He used to quench his severity
With other people’s enviousness.
He was very diligent and adroit though:
The first in the Roman Empire to borrow
Rituals more suited to the society
Of Sovereigns than to Roman liberty,
In place of the previous salutation
He made compulsory his adoration,
And adorned garments and shoes with gems;
Before him power had no diadems
But a purple State Mantle or Chlamys,
The rest was quite ordinary, that is.

Diocletianus moratus callide fuit, sagax praeterea et admodum subtilis ingenii, et qui severitatem suam aliena invidia vellet explere. Diligentissimus tamen et sollertissimus princeps et qui imperio Romano primus regiae consuetudinis formam magis quam Romanae libertatis invexerit adorarique se iussit, cum ante eum cuncti salutarentur. Ornamenta gemmarum vestibus calciamentisque indidit. Nam prius imperii insigne in chlamyde purpurea tantum erat, reliqua communia.

Chapter 27

Herculius’ wild, rough character openly
Showed in his dreadful face.
Complying with his own base
Nature he obeyed every ruthless decree
Issued by Diocletian who, getting old
And feeling inadequate to run the State
Proposed Herculius and he were to fold
And retire to private life, leaving the fate
Of the Republic to better and younger men.
The colleague unwillingly agreed. Then
They managed to exchange, on the same day,
The Imperial Mantle with civilian
Clothes: in Greek Nicomedia Diocletian,
And Herculius in the City of Milan,
After the glorious triumphal celebrations,
In Rome herself, over multifarious nations:
Narseus’ wife, sisters and children were arrayed
In front of the chariot in a litter parade.
Then they retired one to Salona
And the other to Lucania.

Herculius autem propalam ferus et incivilis ingenii, asperitatem suam etiam vultus horrore significans. Hic naturae suae indulgens Diocletiano in omnibus est saevioribus consiliis obsecutus. Cum tamen ingravescente aevo parum se idoneum Diocletianus moderando imperio esse sentiret, auctor Herculio fuit, ut in vitam privatam concederent et stationem tuendae rei publicae viridioribus iunioribusque mandarent. Cui aegre collega obtemperavit. Tamen uterque uno die privato habitu imperii insigne mutavit, Nicomediae Diocletianus, Herculius Mediolani, post triumphum inclitum, quem Romae ex numerosis gentibus egerant, pompa ferculorum inlustri, qua Narsei coniuges sororesque et liberi ante currum ducti sunt. Concesserunt tamen Salonas unus, alter in Lucaniam.

Chapter 28

So Diocletian grew old in his villa -
Which lies not very far from Salona –
In honoured leisure, with unusual bravery,
As among all he alone, since the foundation
Of the Roman Empire, stepped from such heighty
Throne down to a private citizen’s position.
He was the one who having privately
Expired became himself a Deity.

Diocletianus privatus in villa, quae haud procul a Salonis est, praeclaro otio consenuit, inusitata virtute usus, ut solus omnium post conditum Romanum imperium ex tanto fastigio sponte ad privatae vitae statum civilitatemque remearet. Contigit igitur ei, quod nulli post natos homines, ut cum privatus obisset, inter Divos tamen referretur.

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